Not politics now, plastic bags to go


I DO not think one must become a rocket scientist to note what is good and bad for a society in some ordinary cases especially during the rainy seasons to see how plastic bags clog drainage systems, or produce fume when being burnt that is not only lethal to human life, but also unfriendly to the environment.

On the basis of this tip, many will concur with what the Kenyan government has done to outlaw manufacture, sale or even use of plastic bags and risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000 (£31,000) as professional.

It is with the note that other East African nations have joined more than 40 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags, including China, France, Rwanda, and Italy.

It is unfortunate that many such bags being used along the Coastline towns finally drift into the ocean, strangle turtles, suffocate seabirds and fill the stomachs of dolphins and whales with waste until they die of starvation under our very nose.

According to Habib El-Habr, an expert on marine litter working with the UN environment programme in Kenya: “If we continue like this, by 2050, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish,” so we ask ourselves, do we want fish or discarded plastic bags in the ocean? I hope nope!

We are being told that such bags take between 500 to 1,000 years to break down, and also enter the human food chain through fish and other animals, according to a survey that was carried out in Nairobi’s slaughterhouses, where some cows destined for human consumption had 20 bags removed from their stomachs.

As neighbours, we should borrow a leaf from what is taking place there and set out a number of incentives to encourage investors to invest in our country and manufacture alternative packaging materials which must not necessarily be plastic bags and eco-friendly.

We should give all sorts of support to fight polythene bags because they are made of petrochemicals which produce all kinds of toxins into the environment and threaten our lives as well as our livestock.

This work should not only be left to the government and other stakeholders who are Environmental Conservationists like the Green Belt Movement and Greenpeace Africa, but all citizens as the ban is becoming long overdue. It is possible and starts with you and me.

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